It was a beautiful day yesterday, and we flew circuits for a bit. Halfway through something happened.
Tower directed Â me to reset the transponder, because it had stopped showing up. (This isnâ€™t as bad as it seems, because I was still on radar â€“ they had me on radar, so they were only missing my altitude, and since I was in the circuit they knew what that was).
Anyway, I tried it and asked them if it was working and it was gone. Tower told me to check it out when I landed.Lucky for me, one of my partners fixes transponders.
What I thought was going to be a big deal wasn't a problem at all.
The first job is taking the transponder out. If youâ€™re only experience is installing car stereos, a NARCO AT 150 is a treat.Credit: Rob Chipman
The transponder is the unit at the bottom, and youâ€™ll see there is a little hole on the bottom right of it right under the IDENT button.Credit: Rob Chipman
Guess what? An Allan key fits right inside.
Credit: Rob Chipman
It loosens a long screw that attaches the instrument to the plane. You can see how nicely it slides out. Not at all like my â€™72 Toyota Celica with the AM/FM 8 track.
Credit: Rob Chipman
You can see the attachment point at the end of the mounting box, along with the connector.
No wire harness or plug. Instead, it connects just like a card in a computer.
ÂCredit: Rob Chipman
Once it was out we threw it on a few testers. No problem. We cleaned the connector with alcohol and re-installed it. I powered it up, waited a bit for the tube inside to warm up, but no use!Of course, there was something simple I should have thought of in the first place, possibly while in the air â€“ the fuse. I pulled it, inspected it and found nothing wrong. I replaced it and you know it, the transponder light blinked blue. Back in business!What happened? Gremlins?Of course not. Remember, I was flying circuits on my way to soloing. Take off, turn out, do the downwind check â€œPrimer in and locked, masters on, mags both, fuses and circuit breakers inâ€¦.â€And thatâ€™s when I created the problem in the first place. Running my hands over the fuses must have been the cause. I won't do that again, and if I have another non-critical electrical malfunction Iâ€™ll be sure to check the fuses right away.Â